How to install a peep sight

How to install a peep sight is the task John Dudley tackles in this 10th part of the video series, Nocked and Ready to Rock.

Dudley talks about the importance of getting the peep sight in the right position for an individual archer. It’s critical for the archer to settle in to his or her comfortable anchor point and be able to see through the peep. You shouldn’t have to change your anchor just to see your sight.

Once the peep is placed in the correct spot, Dudley then walks through the process of securing it. That process includes twisting the string to get the peep to always be open to the archer’s eye at full draw.

What you need to know about archery tab faces

Leather finger tabs have a couple different faces. When looking for one, recurve and longbow archers might find themselves asking, “Which tab face is right for me?”

By the very nature of how they shoot, traditional and Olympic recurve archers have a much more intimate relationship with their bowstrings, as compared to compound archers.

Recurves and longbows are shot by drawing and releasing the string with fingers. And most archers put something between their fingers and the string for protection.

Some traditional archers wear gloves. Many other trad enthusiasts, and certainly most – if not all – Olympic recurve archers, use finger tabs.

finger tab

These are hand-held devices that allow for greater consistency in releasing a bowstring than if you were to use a shooting glove.

Think of it this way. If you draw a bow with three gloved fingers, each finger is capable of its own interaction with the string. A finger tab works to flatten or smooth the transition between the fingers and the string. It’s harder for each finger to individually affect the string when using a tab.

Finger tabs are made of a couple different materials, but the vast majority of them are leather. And among the leather varieties, there are three basic types of faces – cordovan, super leather and calf hair.

What’s the difference?

That’s what we’re here to tell you.

Cordovan tabs are the most expensive. That’s because cordovan leather is one of the most expensive and rare leathers in the world.

It’s made from two small circular sections of muscle beneath the hide on the rump of a horse. These shells of very dense fibers are subjected to processing that takes six months to produce cordovan leather.

And there’s only one tannery in the U.S. that makes cordovan – Horween Leather in Chicago.

Cordovan is stiff, weather resistant and super slick. A lot of cordovan leather is used to make high-end shoes, because of its weather resistance and because it is very difficult to scuff. Nearly all of the top-tier Olympic recurve archers shoot tabs with cordovan faces.


Notice the sheen on this cordovan tab. That’s evidence of a smooth, slick surface.

Super leather can come from a variety of hides, but it is processed in a manner similar to cordovan. It’s used to build a more cost-effective tab that mimics cordovan to a degree, but tends to be rougher and not as stiff. The roughness and flexibility can affect shot consistency.

cord vs super

Here’s a look at cordovan on the left and super leather on the right. Notice the stippling on the surface of the super leather vs. the reflective sheen of the cordovan.

Calf-hair tabs are just what the name implies. The tab face is covered with calf hair that’s very slick when it’s fresh. The hair will wear off over time however, which can change the tab’s interactions with the bowstring. Of the three types, calf-hair tabs are the least resistant to weather.

calf hair

Calf-hair finger tab

To look at them, you might think one finger tab is like any other. Think again. Know the differences so you know what you’re buying and what it can do.

How to tie cat whiskers onto a bowstring

Pro archer John Dudley walks through the steps for tying cat whiskers onto a bowstring in this sixth installment of Nocked and Ready to Rock. This is the 13-part video series in which Dudley will have completely set up a hunting bow by the end of the last episode.

Rubber cat whiskers are tied onto a bowstring to help make a bow shoot quieter. The rubber whiskers will kill just about any string vibration noise.

In this video, Dudley describes where to tie the cat whiskers on a string, and how to do the job so the whiskers stay firmly attached.

Archery gift ideas to fit any budget

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the Christmas gift-buying season has officially launched.

If you’re on this site, you obviously have one or more archers in your life, and so you’re going to be looking for gifts to make them smile.

We combed our online catalog to come up with three gift ideas for every $10 bracket from $1-$100. So whether you’re buying a stocking stuffer for a recreational shooter or a primary gift for a die-hard tournament competitor, we think we’ve got something your archers would love to receive this year.

Just for kicks, we added a few extra ideas at the end that Santa might bring your way if you’ve been extra good.

We’ve got links to all the products on the right side or bottom of your screen, depending on which device you’re using to view this post.

$1-$10 –  Easton deluxe bone arm guard; Wildlife Research Scent Killer Gold laundry detergent; Arrowmat target face.

target mat

$10-$20 –  Primos “The Original Can” deer call; Lancaster Archery Supply Summit 2 tube target quiver; Spigarelli bow square.

LAS quiver

$20-$30 – Easton archery combo pack; Coast HL4 dual color LED headlamp; Easton Elite multi-pliers.

Easton pack

$30-$40 – RaptoRazor big game skinning knife; Cartel Midas NX bow stand; half-dozen aluminum arrows similar to those shot by Katniss Everdeen.

knife set

$40-$50 – Hamskea Easy third-axis level; Hunter Safety System tandem lifeline;Tru-Fire Smoke wrist-strap release.

Tru Fire release

$50-$60 – Muddy Magnum tree stand safety harness; Lancaster Archery Supply Atomic shooter jersey; BIGshot ballistic bag target.

LAS shooter jersey

$60-$70 – Scott Little Goose wrist strap release; American Whitetail PowerPad 32 target backstop; Allen Gear Fit X compound bow case.

Allen bow case

$70-$80 – Zink Avian X breeder hen turkey decoy; half-dozen Gold Tip Series 22 Pro arrow shafts; Easton 12-piece archery tool kit.

Gold Tip 22

$80-$90 Lancaster Archery Academy Experience Archery 6-week Class; Bitzenburger arrow fletching jig; Muddy Quick Stick tree stand climbing sticks.


$90-$100 – USA Archery 62-inch recurve bow; Block Vault M foam target; CBE large scope housing.

cartel bow

WAY OVER $100 – Rinehart 3-D moose target; Pilla Panther eyeglasses; Brunton Icon binoculars.

moose target



Video tour of the Lancaster Archery Supply distribution center

Take a peek inside the Lancaster Archery Supply Distribution Center in this video tour. Located at 21 Graybill Road, Leola, Pa., the distribution center serves as Lancaster Archery Supply’s warehouse and as the facility where all catalog, phone and internet orders are sorted and then shipped out.

It’s an 80,000-square-foot facility that houses more than 82,000 products supplied by over 800 vendors for use by bowhunters and target and recreational archers all over the world.

It’s also the home base for Lancaster Archery’s marketing, sales and arrow fletching departments.

Take the video tour and see how this archery-industry giant operates six days a week.

How to adjust the draw length on a compound bow

Expert archer John Dudley talks about adjusting the draw length on a compound bow in this fifth installment of Nocked and Ready to Rock. He describes the importance of having the draw length precisely fit an individual archer for maximum accuracy.

Then, Dudley walks through the steps for fine-tuning a bow’s draw length. He’s not talking about making major adjustments by switching or rotating mods or changing cams. He’s talking about making micro adjustments of a quarter-inch or so by twisting the string or the cables. Doing this will allow you to take your bow and make it fit your precise draw length.

Fans going wild for Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 bows

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 opens this weekend in theaters across the country. And already, people are talking about the Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 bows shot by Katniss Everdeen and other archers in the film.

This is the fourth film in the Hunger Games series. In each one, Katniss – played by actress Jennifer Lawrence – has used a different bow. In some of the movies, she’s shot more than one bow.

Here at Lancaster Archery Supply, we’ve got several bows which are very similar to the ones strung by Miss Katniss throughout the Hunger Games series.

If you’re feeling a desire to get in touch with your inner Katniss and let loose a few arrows, here are a couple of bows to consider.

  1. Rebellion Longbow – Katniss starts out with a longbow in the very first Hunger Games movie. The Rebellion is a nice imitation of that bow. It’s a 54-inch longbow with a 25-pound draw weight. You can get this bow by itself or as part of a set, which includes three aluminum arrows.
Rebellion longbow

Rebellion Longbow

  1. Capitol Recurve Bow – There are two of these bows – one is silver and the other is black. These are the best value for beginners age 11 through adult, with bows available individually, or as sets that include three arrows selling for under $70. Each bow can be shot right and left handed, with a draw weight of 20-25 pounds, depending on your draw length.
Capitol recurve

Capitol Recurve

  1. Victor Recurve Bow – This is a 66-inch bow similar to the one Katniss wields during Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Though she shot this bow bare, it has threaded holes for accessories such as a sight, rest and plunger and stabilizer. It’s suitable for archers up to 6 feet tall. This bow is sold as part of a set that includes three Easton aluminum arrows.
Vector recurve

Vector Recurve

  1. District Primitive Longbow – This is a traditional-style recurve bow made of wood and featuring a leather grip. It is available by itself or as part of a set that includes three wooden arrows. You can shoot this bow right and left handed, since it has shelf cuts on both sides of the riser. This is another good starter bow, or a bow for a family or camp, priced to sell at under $100.
District longbow

District Primitive Longbow

  1. Hoyt Buffalo Traditional Recurve – The Buffalo reportedly is the bow model Katniss used in Catching Fire. This is an advanced bow that – at a cost of $799.99 – is probably priced for experienced archers and bowhunters who plan to stick with archery for a while. You can choose from a number of color options and draw weights ranging from 35 to 65 pounds. Separate bows are made for right and left-handed archers.
Hoyt Buffalo

Hoyt Buffalo Recurve

2016 Mathews Halon Review

The 2016 Mathews Halon is out and Lancaster Archery Supply has it in our Pro Shop, among the other 2016 Mathews bows. In this video, Lancaster Archery TechXPert P.J. Reilly gives a rundown of some of the features and functions of the Halon, which is the flagship bow for Mathews in 2016.

This is a 30-inch bow available in 5-, 6- and 7-inch brace height versions. Halon features Mathews’ new, dual Crosscentric cams, which deliver incredible power, while still allowing for a smooth draw cycle.

To handle that power, without delivering any shock to your hand at the shot, the Halon has a beefy, dual-bridged riser and wide limbs.

It’s available in five different finishes, 75- or 85-percent letoff and draw lengths ranging from 24 to 32 inches.

Stop by the Lancaster Archery Pro Shop at 2195-A Old Philadelphia Pike, Lancaster, PA, to test out the 2016 Mathews Halon.

LAS Academy will be at Penn Cinema for opening of Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Katniss Everdeen will be slinging arrows on the big screen once again this weekend as Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 opens.

In celebration of the film’s opening, Lancaster Archery Academy will be at Penn Cinema Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20 and 21, to give movie-goers the opportunity to shoot a bow at our Safe Archery booth.


A young archer takes a shot at the Safe Archery booth during opening weekend of Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 last year at Penn Cinema.

Whether they are at the theater at 541 Airport Road, Lititz, PA, to see the new Hunger Games film or not, movie-goers can pick up a bow and take a few shots under the direction of Academy staff from 3:30-9 p.m. on Friday, and from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturday.

There is no charge for this opportunity, and it’s available to all ages.

In the booth, archers will shoot soft-tipped arrows from real bows at ball targets hovering on streams of air.

Come out, see the movie and give archery a try.

Lancaster Archery Academy is a division of Lancaster Archery Supply, the world’s leading supplier of archery equipment. The Academy strives to introduce people to the sport of archery, and to provide instruction to novice and experienced archers alike through organized classes and individual training sessions.

How to know if your bow’s draw weight is too heavy

Are you drawing too much weight?

Getting a bow with the right draw weight is an individual endeavor. Everybody’s different. There is no prize awarded to the archer who draws the heaviest weight.

The most obvious impact of having a bow with too much draw weight is that you can’t draw it at all. If you can’t get the string back, you can’t shoot the bow. That’s an easy one.

But even if you can draw the bow, that doesn’t mean the weight isn’t still too heavy. If it is, accuracy is sure to suffer. It really doesn’t matter how fast your arrow is flying, or how much momentum it carries, if you can’t put it where you want it.

Compound bow archers seem to be most apt to try drawing too much weight. They know if they can just get the string over the let-off hump, they’ll hold much less weight at full draw. But that over-exertion at the front end can weaken you at full draw – especially if you’re in a tournament situation, where you might have to draw and shoot 30-60 times, or if you’re hunting and end up having to hold full draw for an extended period while waiting for a good shot opportunity.


Having to point the bow toward the sky is a sign of drawing too much weight.

If you have to point the bow up at the sky, or pull down toward your waist in order to get the string back on a compound bow, you’re pulling too much weight. If you have to collapse your bow arm shoulder inward to get extra leverage, then the weight is too high. If you find yourself shaking at full draw, it’s too much. If you can’t get through a simple practice session without feeling fatigued, then you’re pulling too much. You should be able to hold a compound bow directly in front of your torso, and draw the string without struggling.

If it’s possible, reduce the weight by turning the limb bolts counter clockwise. Whatever you do to one bolt, do exactly the same thing to the other. If your bow already is set at the lowest draw weight possible, then you might have to get another bow with a lower draw weight range. Or, you might be able to get replacement limbs for your bow that are rated for a lower weight range.

Recurve and longbow archers almost invariably will draw much less weight than they would if they shot a compound bow. Compound bow archers who switch must understand there’s no way they will draw and hold with their fingers the same weight they draw and hold with a release using a compound bow.

When you draw a 70-pound compound bow with 75 percent let-off, you’re only holding about 18 pounds at full draw. When you draw a 50-pound recurve – assuming you have a 28-inch draw length – you’re holding 50 pounds at full draw.

The most obvious sign that a recurve archer is drawing too much weight is he or she will shake at full draw. If you can’t hold the string back for even a few seconds without shaking, you’re pulling too much weight.


This archer is comfortably holding her bow at full draw. The weight is not too much for her.

Check your accuracy with bows of varying draw weights. If you’re pretty consistent at 40 pounds, but then notice erratic arrow groups at 50 pounds, then 50 pounds is probably too much weight.

World renowned traditional Archer G. Fred Asbell recommends a test for determining if an archer is over-bowed.  While bending at the waist and aiming at the ground, an archer draws the bow with the back of the bow hand just below the inside of the knee. If an archer cannot do this easily, he or she is likely not strong enough to shoot that draw weight.


Archers shooting takedown recurve bows can usually get lighter limbs to drop some draw weight. Those who shoot one-piece recurves or longbows are going to have to switch bows.

Just because you might not be strong enough for a certain draw weight right now doesn’t mean you can’t ever shoot that weight. The more you shoot, the stronger you’ll get. Couple your practice sessions at lower draw weights with strength-training workouts aimed at your core and upper body muscles.

As you get stronger, increase your draw weight incrementally. If you notice any of the problems we’ve already discussed, back off. Over time, you should be able to reach your goal weight, and be able to handle that weight with ease.

Now you might say to yourself, “Well, I’ll just keep shooting this heavy draw weight, and eventually, I’ll get used to it.”

That’s a bad move. The whole time you are struggling with that heavy weight, you’re tossing good shooting form out the window. A great deal of solid archery shooting form relies on muscle memory – training your muscles to know how to perform correctly during the act of shooting a bow. If you train your muscles to do the wrong thing, then that muscle memory is worthless.

When it comes to draw weight, don’t go for the gusto. I’d rather be able to drive tacks with slower arrows, then have them fly screaming fast, but rarely hit those tacks.